Teacher not guilty of Assault

auchinraithOn 29th July 1940, a Blantyre school teacher, Quintin Smith, 325 Glasgow Road, Blantyre, was found not guilty in Hamilton J.P. Court of assaulting an 11-year-old pupil at Auchinraith Public School, Blantyre on June 25. The boy, John Cook, in the witness-box, said that along with other boys had been playing football in the school playground, which was prohibited. Teacher, Smith asked those who had been playing football to go to his classroom. John Cook said the teacher strapped him on the hands, placed him over desk, strapped him several times, and then sent him to his classroom. He was violently sick when he got home.

Cross-examined, John denied that he had refused to hold out his hand to be punished. Agent (for accuseds —Did you not tell the teacher that you would “get your father and mother sort him” ?—”Yes”, replied John. Mrs Cook said she went to the school and asked Smith to apologise, and when did not do so she reported the matter to the police. Quintin Smith in the witness-box denied that he exercised undue influence in maintaining discipline on the date libelled. He often thrashed all the boys for playing football and was going strap them again in future. The court heard that John Cook refused to hold out his hand the second occasion, and it was then that he made the remark that he would get his father to sort him.

It’s clear tensions were running high with corporal punishment even in the 1940s. This continued in the following decades until it became no longer acceptable in the 1980s do punish children in this manner. I’m sure young John Cook would not have been the only child to tell a teacher “I’ll get my dad to you for this”.

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